Google Maps is a somewhat controversial feature, but there is no denying that it is quite an interesting product. Until now, however, navigation along streets was a bit difficult, but Google just introduced a new, smarter way to navigate Street View's panoramas. Instead of having to click from one arrow to the next, you can now simply double-click anywhere in an image and Google will take you to this point. In addition, Street View now also recognizes the facades of buildings and will show a rectangle when you mouse over a house. Thanks to this, you can now also easily zoom in to any spot in an image by just double-clicking.Street View in
By using a rectangle that conforms to a building's geometry, Street View suddenly also feels a lot more three-dimensional than ever before. According to Google's announcement, Street View can do this thanks to using laser point clouds and by analyzing the differences between consecutive pictures.<>
Another cool new feature is the ability to go back to your starting point by simply clicking on the return arrow in the Address Box.
More 3D in Google Map's Future?
Given that Google is already surfacing some 3D data in Street View now, it is interesting to speculate what else the company could do with this data. Current 3D maps are often a bit clunky, but at this point, Google's Street View cars have covered an enormous amount of data, and by using a technique similar to Microsoft's PhotoSynth, Google could create an even more compelling 3D experience. Photosynth creates almost 3D-like representations of scenes by stitching together photos shot of the same object or landscape from different angles.